AS: The pandemic changed so many things, including the logistics of social and professional interactions. This showed up in some movies and TV shows, while others pretended it didn’t happen. And we saw the same thing in fiction: some stories are set with people wearing masks and dealing with a COVID-19 world, others aren’t. As vaccines are rolled out and more and more people are getting their shots, I can’t help but wonder what kinds of changes will be carried through into our post-COVID-19 reality.
CY: One of the things that’s come out of the pandemic is that conventions have moved online. This has made them more accessible to many people who would otherwise never have been able to attend. In April you and I are participating in the Flights of Foundry convention, which not only is scheduling around the clock to accommodate different time zones around the world, but also made it payment-optional!
AS: I’ve really been enjoying doing panels! But I have mixed feelings about online conventions. I do like that making it online is more cost effective and means people who might not otherwise attend can actually attend. But I miss hanging out at the bar with folks, and I miss randomly bumping into people and having an unexpected good time with them. I’m hoping that some conventions develop hybrid models (in person/online for example) and wonder if others, such as FIYAHCON or Augurcon, will continue to do online-only events.
CY: Zoom is definitely not a replacement for those hallway greetings that turn into hours-long conversations! But at least it allows us to connect with our fellow readers and writers and stay in touch with our community.
I’m glad you’re having fun with panels! I’ll confess I haven’t done much programming, despite a decade of convention attendance. I was on one panel years ago that I was completely unqualified for and felt like an idiot, and I didn’t want to have that experience again, so I’ve avoided it. I’ve done a couple of readings and led little workgroups at workshops, but I’ve never done a kaffeeklatsch or a panel discussion since that first one. But now I’m bracing myself to dive in and talk to people about Fantasy Magazine! (Or whatever they want to talk about.)
AS: I think part of the problem with convention culture is that conrunners don’t learn from each other as much as they could, or from their antecedents, and consequently we see a lot of repeated issues, such as exclusionary practices, or putting people on panels they aren’t comfortable with. As we get back to in-person conventions, I hope conrunners will look at the successes of fantastic events (such as FIYAHCON) and make changes. This is kind of what we attempt to do with Fantasy Magazine—part of it is about putting together great issues, but part of it is about making conscientious decisions which we hope will contribute positively to the landscape of genre.
CY: It seems like the SFF community is taking the issue of inclusion seriously. I think what you were saying about a future hybrid program could really be a tremendous leap forward in that direction. We look forward to seeing our readers and contributors at future conventions, both virtual and in person!
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In this issue . . . Alice Goldfuss weaves a biting tale of resistance in “Woman with no Face” and Y.M. Pang offers a fresh twist on a superhero navigating relationships in “How I Became MegaPunch, or Why I Stayed with Dylan”; for flash fiction, A.Z. Louise brings coffee and witches together in “Single Origin” and Shane Halbach’s “So. Fucking.Metal.” puts the Death in Death Metal; for this month’s poetry we bring you Terese Mason Pierre’s “Appeal to the Dopplegänger” and Tristan Beiter’s “The Knitting Bowl”; plus, this issue features an essay by The Unbroken author C.L. Clark: “The Fiction of Peace, The Fantasy of War.”
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